Saskatchewan curling teams will be staying home . . . Pats make front-office hire . . . SPHL has five teams opt out

The Ministry of Health for Saskatchewan informed curlers on Tuesday that their travel will be limited this year. “We just received word that our teams are not able to travel outside of Saskatchewan this year,” Ashley Howard, the executive director of CurlSask, told Claire Hanna of CTV News Regina. At the same time, Hanna reported that “teams from outside the province won’t be allowed to come to Saskatchewan for competition.” . . . You are free to wonder what that means, if anything, for the WHL, which includes an East Division comprising four Saskatchewan teams and two from Manitoba. The Swift Current Broncos, a fifth Saskatchewan team, play in the Central Division with five teams from Alberta.

The Regina Pats have hired Evan Daum as their director of media and Patscommunications, a spot that had been filled by Phil Andrews before he announced his resignation. Daum, who is to start work in Regina on Nov. 2, also will handle play-by-play and social media. He has been working as the associate director of communications and marketing with Canada West, which oversees university sports in Western Canada. . . . His father, Rob, is a former WHL coach, having worked with the Prince Albert Raiders, Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes (1989-95). He has spent the past nine seasons coaching in Europe.



Mikael Lalancette of TVA Sports reported Tuesday that the public health investigation involving the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada isn’t complete but “there is said to more than one case of COVID-19 in the locker room. . . . It is unlikely that the team will resume operations soon.” . . . The Armada shut things down on Monday after reporting that one player had tested positive. . . . The Armada played a weekend doubleheader against the Sherbrook Phoenix, who also have been shut down pending testing.

The NHL, which had been looking to start its 2020-21 regular season on Dec. 1, now has adjusted that to Jan. 1. The NHL and NHLPA said Tuesday that dates for training camps will be announced in the future. . . . The NHL’s 2019-20 season ended on Sept. 28 with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup in the Edmonton bubble. . . .

Steve Yzerman, the Detroit Red Wings’ executive vice-president and general manager, is taking part in the NHL draft from a remote location rather than with team staff. The team explained that he recently was exposed to someone who tested positive. Yzerman has tested negative repeatedly but decided to handle the draft virtually as a precaution. . . .

D Matt Niskanen has retired, leaving the Philadelphia Flyers despite having one year and US$5.75 million left on his contract. It seems that Niskanen, 33, simply grew tired off all the uncertainty involved in hockey these days. . . . Neil Sheehy, his agent, told Ken Campbell of The Hockey News: “He told me he didn’t want to go through it again. He mentioned COVID to me. I don’t think he wanted to get ready for another season by Nov. 15 and then have to go into isolation and be away from his two kids and his wife. I think he always (wanted to) finish his contract and then stop, but I think because of COVID and his experience of the bubble, he decided now is the time. He basically said, ‘With COVID, I just don’t want to do it. I don’t want to prepare anymore.’ ” . . . Niskanen and his family live in northern Minnesota, which is where he grew up. . . . Campbell’s piece is right here. . . .

The Southern Professional Hockey League is planning to open a 42-game regular-season schedule on Dec. 26, but it only has five teams left after five decided not to play in 2020-21. . . . The Birmingham Bulls, Huntsville Havoc, Knoxville Ice Bears, Macon Mayhem and Pensacola Ice Flyers are planning to play, but the Evansville Thunderbolts, Fayetteville Marksmen, Peoria Rivermen, Quad City Storm and Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs have opted out. . . . According to an SPHL news release, the latter five teams are out “due to state and local restrictions related to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic that limit their ability to host spectators and the projected economic impacts.” . . .

Arsenal of soccer’s Premier League has fired its dinosaur mascot, Gunnersaurus, as it works to cut costs because of a shortage of revenue due to not having fans at home games. Arsenal has said it will have to cut 55 jobs and Jerry Quy, the mascot for 27 years, was one of those.

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JUST NOTES: Darin Schumacher is the new head coach of the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He replaces Mike Bay, who stepped down, according to the team, in order to spend more time with his family. The Braves won’t be playing in 2020-21 because of the U.S.-Canada border being closed. . . . Hey, Sportsnet, enough with the onslaught of those spots pushing your streaming serve. OK? . . . Wilson Housley has signed on as an assistant coach with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. Housley, a 28-year-old who was born in Winnipeg, is the son of former NHL D Phil Housley.


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